Unfortunately sexual harassment in the workplace is nothing new. While society is waking up to the plight of workers who face daily harassment, the truth is it still happens.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, verbal and physical conduct of sexual nature or requests for sexual favors. It is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
If sex is used in a way to coerce or force you to do something at work, then you are experiencing sexual harassment. If you have to put up with sexual harassment (sexual touching, inappropriate names, aggressive flirting and the like) in order to get a promotion or favorable assignment or to keep your job this is sexual harassment at the workplace. This type of harassment creates a hostile work environment.
Which employers does Title VII apply to?
Title VII applies to employers that have 15 or more employees. This includes the city, county, state and federal governments.
Steps to take
Tell the responsible parties to stop the remarks of behavior. Make it known you do not like it. Check to see what your employee handbook says about harassment. If you have spoken up and the harassment continues, then be sure to keep a detailed record of who said or did what, when and at what time. If you are comfortable, then speak to your supervisor. If you do not get timely resolution then you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The no retaliation law
The law forbids retaliation from your employer because you spoke up. The EEOC will investigate your claim. After filing with the EEOC you may wish to pursue your case. You can then speak to an attorney about filing a civil suit against your employer, especially if the harassment was traumatizing or caused you to lose your job, position or promotion.
There is a time limit to file
If you are experiencing sexual harassment at the workplace take steps immediately. There is a limited time to file a complaint and to get a legal remedy.